Doctrine: Gideon, Judges 6-8
PRINCIPLES FROM GIDEON:
1. When things go badly that does not means
that God has abandoned you. It means that God is
working in your life. Gideon was wrong (6.13).
2. God can use any believer that is willing to
grow. He can change you from spiritual timidity,
unbelief, and self-centeredness to spiritual
courage, faith, humility, and orientation to Himself
and His plan. But this takes time. Gideon started
3. Believe God right from the beginning and
therefore serve him faithfully by learning and
applying His word instead of testing God like Gideon
because you do not believe Him and are worried.
Faithful application will result in contented rest
(faith rest), accomplishment of your task, and
spiritual victory. Gideon failed a lot (6.12-
18,27,36-40; 7.9-15; 8.27).
4. When the will of God is clear (statment or
principle from Bible) do not wait for God to verify
it. Act on it. Do not check up on God or test Him.
If the will of God is not clear, then 1) live inside
God’s plan 2) apply the doctrine that you know and
3) use the principles of divine guidance. Gideon did
not do this failed (6.12-18,27,36-40; 7.9-15; 8.27).
5. The learning of a few spiritual lessons does
not make a believer mature. But you are able to
serve faithfully with the growth you have. Spiritual
growth and health requires day to day learning and
applying the Word of God (8.21-23; Heb 11.32-34).
6. Repeated spiritual failure does not
disqualify you from important service for the LORD.
Learn by failures and apply God’s word (Heb 11.32-
7. Certain kinds of warfare are right (6.14-16;
1. Israel did not live by God’s plan or follow
His will so God sent the Midianites in order to
correct Israel’s relationship with Him (Judges 6.1-
6). The Midianites were “…Highly mobile Bedouin
marauders mounted on camels. They infiltrated from
the desert and filled the valleys with their flocks
and tents, harassing the Israelites populace
scattered in open settlements.” (MacMillan Bible
Atlas, page 55).
2. After seven years Israel finally asked the
LORD for help (6.6).
3. The LORD sent a prophet who reminded Israel
about God’s goodness to them, their relationship to
Him (fear the LORD), and their failure (6.8-10).
4. Then the angel of the LORD visited Gideon
4.1. The angel of the LORD was the LORD
(Yahweh), but He looked like a man to Gideon. The
writer identified Him as the angel of the LORD and
LORD. Gideon calls him Lord (sir). The angel of the
LORD was God the Son (Jn 1.18).
4.2. The angel of the LORD called Gideon a
valiant warrior (gibor hehayil). He was not a
valiant warrior at the time. He was timid. He was
beating wheat in a wine press (6.11-12). Gideon
misinterpreted the divine discipline upon Israel
(6.13). The LORD (angel) gave clear instructions to
Gideon. He was to lead the Israeli troops against
the Midianites and defeat them. Gideon refused to
trust the LORD. He made excuses. Gideon was
demonstrating pride, not humility, when he said
that he was the youngest in the least family in
4.3. Gideon eventually realized that the
messenger was probably the LORD and asked for
verification (6.17-18). The angel of the LORD
demonstrated that He was the LORD. Gideon was
finally convinced (6.19-24). By now God’s will was
clear. God’s power was given. Gideon’s answer should
have been “Yes sir, LORD.” He should have prepared
5. Gideon obeyed the LORD and destroyed the
idol altar (6.25-32). He accepted this order from
the LORD. This confirmed that Gideon knew the LORD
was commanding him. But Gideon was still timid. He
was not thinking and acting with the confidence and
energy that God’s representative should exhibit.
6. Gideon prepared for the fight (6.33-35). At
this point Gideon clearly knew God’s will and had
God’s support (6.14,16,22,). He had the Holy Spirit
(6.34), and he even had Israeli soldiers (6.34-35,
7. Gideon tested God by asking that He perform
two miracles on the wool fleece (6.36-40). This
showed disobedience toward the LORD (lack of faith,
lack of orientation to LORD and His plan, lack of
authority orientation, lack of humility, occupation
with self) by asking for further evidence of God’s
8. The LORD decreased the number of Israeli
troops before the battle against the Midianites
(7.1-8). He did this so Israel would have no reason
to think their human ability defeated Midian (7.2).
The first cut removed the fearful so 22,000 people
left and 10,000 stayed (7.3). The second cut left
300 with Gideon. God chose those that lapped water
from their hand (7.4-8). God promised again to give
9. Gideon again showed fear so God let him make
an unnecessary reconnaissance with Purah, his
9.1. Gideon wanted to have human evidence
instead of trusting the Word of God about the coming
9.2. Gideon heard someone tell about a
dream. The dream pictured Israel defeating the
Midianite army. Gideon was quick to believe this
man, but he had trouble believing God (7.12-15).
Gideon finally believed that God would defeat the
Midianites after other people said God would.
10. Gideon’s strike force was made up of three
companies, each with 100 men. They were all armed
with trumpets and torches inside jars. The LORD had
already decreed they would win (7.15-18). The
Midianites had 135,000 (7.16 and 8.10). They were
very mobile. They had camels (6.5).
11. Gideon’s strike force was really the LORD’S
strike force. When they attacked the enemy (middle
watch was about 10 at night) the LORD confused,
panicked, and defeated the Midianite army (7.19-23).
12. Gideon sent out a call for reinforcements
to help the pursuit. The men of Ephraim were mad
because Gideon had not asked them to fight in the
earlier battle, but they joined in the fight after
Gideon (thinking clearly under pressure) calmed them
13. Gideon and his force successfully carried
out the mop up operation without any help from the
men of Succoth and Penuel (both Israeli cities in
Gad on the east side of the Jordan River (8.4-17).
13.1. The men of Succoth and Penuel were
hesitant to trust God so they would not commit
themselves to Gideon’s cause (8.4-9). Their
resistence showed their rejection of God and
willingness to accept the Midianites. They will
regret this (8.13-17; 5.23).
13.2. Gideon and his strike force followed
a caravan route to Karkor, east of the Dead Sea.
There they finished off the enemy army (8.11-12),
then executed the Midianite kings (8.18-21). Note
that the LORD’s army searched out and destroyed the
enemy. The was will of the holy and loving God.
14. Gideon demonstrated by his humility that he
was beginning to learn important lessons (obey God,
authority orientation, humility, faith in God and
His plan), but he had trouble with the details as we
learn from the Ephod incident (8.22-35).
14.1. After the LORD had restored the
peace through Gideon’s military force, the people
asked Gideon to become the king. He refused. The
LORD was the true king (8.22-23).
14.2. Gideon was probably well meaning
when he made the ephod (priest loin cloth (Ex 39.1-
26), but he should have known that it would become
an idol (8.24-27; Exodus 32.1-8).
15. Israel prospered until Gideon died. Then,
without Gideon to lead them, Israel reverted to the
Caananite way of life. People need strong leaders
Copyright 1986 by Tod M. Kennedy